How to start, run and grow a vibrant youth ministry
Detailed instructions on creating life-changing youth groups from an experienced youth minister.
Whether you're thinking about starting a new youth ministry, or looking to take your current youth ministry to the next level, there's something for everyone in Mike Dicker's series on Starting a Youth Ministry from Scratch.
Mike's youth ministry method is all about building on the right foundations, which is why we recommend starting from the first post below and working your way through each article step by step.
So, you want to start a youth ministry at your church (or perhaps you’ve been kindly asked by your minister)? That’s great! Youth ministry is important but where do you start?
There is probably a thousand different starting points for a youth ministry, many of which come from a pressing need or demand (“Ummm ... What do we do with our young people?”). Mike doesn’t propose to have all the answers for your situation but he does intend to equip you with some essential questions to help you get off on the right foot.
How to locate and recruit great leaders for your youth ministry that will help:
- To teach and study the Bible
- Be a Christian community
- Live out the values of Jesus
- Engage real life with real Jesus
- Be a counter-cultural experience (a glimpse of heaven, even!)
Your focus is too narrow if you think that youth ministry is just about teaching and engaging with young people. Ministry to young people must include ministry to their parents and the family unit as a whole in whatever form it comes (eg. single-parent family, foster family, adopted family, etc.).
How to plan your youth group so that Christians in the group are growing in their knowledge and love of Jesus, while those who don't know Jesus are engaging with God's Word in a way that is accessible and helpful at this early stage of their journey.
The goal here is to have a vision of your youth group as a place where people will see God at work in His people gathered around His Word and exclaim “God is really among you!” (1 Cor 14:24-25).
It can be quite an exhausting task coming up with a new youth group program for each school term of the year. It's even harder trying to be creative with how you run your youth group gathering so it remains fresh and yet faithful to your theology, values and principles. So here’s a few tools Mike uses to make the process a little more simple, less exhausting and more sustainable.
If you have a working, Biblical youth ministry up and running, now is a good time to start some regular mid-week Bible study groups for your young people.
These groups form the backbone of youth ministry and you should strongly encourage every teenager to attend a group for the year. It’s a great mix of bible study, social activity, accountability and fun - but on a more personal level than the main youth group gathering. The groups are user friendly, and a great place to invite friends!